When Will I Know If My Aquarium Is Ok For Neon Tetras?

Mac88

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I got 5 neon tetras for my aquarium and the lady said my pH was too high to be adding fish. It's been 2 days and the tetras seem to be doing just fine. How long before I can add a few more being sure they'll be fine in my tank conditions? My pH is generally around 8 all other readings are very low.
 

mattgirl

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I got 5 neon tetras for my aquarium and the lady said my pH was too high to be adding fish. It's been 2 days and the tetras seem to be doing just fine. How long before I can add a few more being sure they'll be fine in my tank conditions? My pH is generally around 8 all other readings are very low.
What do you mean when you say all other readings are low? Before we can give advice we need actual numbers. Your PH level shouldn't even be considered when determining whether or not to add more neons. I am not sure what the lady's concern was.

If you are getting an ammonia and/or nitrite reading of anything other than zero then you don't want to add anymore until they are both zero. Those are the important numbers.
 

Islandvic

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Welcome to the forum @Mac88

I concur with the other members. We need some more info .

Are you able to test your water at home with a test kit, or do you take your samples to the fish store?

"The lady " I'm assuming is an employee of where you bought the fish from. Did she say what their pH is in their tanks?

What size is your tank?

What are the readings for ammonia / nitrites/ nitrates?

A cycled tank should be 0 / 0 / 5-40. Water changes are the most common way to reduce nitrates.


How long has the tank been set up and running, and do you know about the nitrogen cycle?

You said pH is "generally around 8.0". Does that mean it has fluctuated and you've gotten different readings in the past with an average of 8.0? Or does that mean it's always been 8.0.
 

Mac88

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I use the API freshwater test kit. My ammonia/nitrite/nitrate reading is .25/0/0 so my tank hasn't fully cycled yet. I did that research (about the nitrogen cycle) after the fish lady at the store told me it only had to run for a day and my son's birthday was in four days from the time I set it up and had already promised him fish. We have a 10 gallon aquarium with a couple live plants from the store, a couple live plants from a friend's koi pond (that came with snails), and a piece of sponge like material from his pond filter that I've added to mine. I bought 6 guppies to start with and one was dead the next morning but I'm assuming it was sick from store to start with. I had to replace it my son being 6 so I went back and got one like it and one extra and a glofish shark that recently jumped out the tank when I wasn't home. So I've had 7 guppies in the tank for 2 weeks and they're thriving especially since the glo shark jumped out because he would chase them a little. I now know that those sharks should be in a much larger aquarium but because the pet store has the 30 day guarantee I exchanged the dead shark for 5 neon tetras a couple days ago and they seem to be fine so far. I know I shouldn't add more neons to this tank for long term but I'm in the process of setting up a 60 gallon tank and wanted to get the tetras soon because the ones at the LFS are real small and I read they prefer larger groups. So I was mainly wondering how long before you can tell that a fish will do fine in your tank? Will most fish die instantly? Does it take days, weeks or months? I am a little nervous that because it doesn't seem like the tank has cycled because I'm not getting a nitrate reading that the neons will die if the nitrogen cycle progresses but I'm also wondering if because I have a lot of live plants in my aquarium if I'll see the nitrate reading right away.
 

Islandvic

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So 7 guppies and 5 neons total? Since they are small, that's not a huge bio-load. That is infinitely better than hearing there are 5 goldfish in there.

You've probably reached the max for your 10g now.

Unfortunately the store employee had no clue the advice given was wrong. They probably just repeated what they were told to say.

Neon tetras can be hit or miss, from my experience and from what other members have reported on the forum. Its probably a combination if the fish themselves being very small to begin with and coming from a weak strain from the breeder. These fish were stressed once already when they were shipped to the fish store, only to be stressed once again when they are brought home to a customer's tank.

Everytime I've bought neon tetras in the past, at least 1 would die within 24hrs and another 1-3 die within a week. This is when they were placed in a 10g fully cycled quarantine tank.

If all of your neon tetras live, that is great!. If you have 1 or 2 not make it, dont blame yourself.

Regarding how long they live, I still have most of the original fish we bought back in February of 2018 when we first started keeping fish. Our original pleco, black neon tetras and cherry barbs are all doing great. Many fish live 2-8 years, depending on species.

Since your tank is not fully cycled, I would recommend to use a siphon gravel vac to clean the substrate everytime you perform a water change. This will ensure all of the fish waste and uneaten food is removed, and not decaying and releasing additional ammonia.

Also avoid overfeeding the fish, and try to use a quality brand.

Saving a few dollars on cheaper food might be tempting, but quality food has less fillers and will make the fish healthier, grow quicker, have better color and help them resist stress and illness.

Ive used brands such as Omega One, Cobalt Aquatics and Ken's Fish house brand, and would recommend them to others. There are other good brands such as North Fin, New Life Spectrum and Hikari for example.

Hopefully you already have a 5 gallon bucket dedicated for fish only duty. I would use it to perform 50% water changes at least once week minimum. Use your tank thermometer to temperature match your tap water. Having temp matched water +- 1-2°f will help ensure the juvenile fish are not shocked.

Having live plants are great for a tank!!

I have a couple of basic plants in our 75g community tank. Nothing fancy. I use Seachem Flourish root tabs as fertilizer. I insert a tab in the roots of the plants in the sand. So far my plants have done well.
 
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Momgoose56

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Cycling your tank should be the priority. Also you might want to cycle the new tank before putting any fish in it. You can do that with pure ammonia and not risk any fish in the process. In your tank with fish in it, you'll want to keep ammonia to less than 1ppm and get some Seachem Prime to bind with the low levels of ammonia and nitrites your fishes waste will produce. Prime converts ammonia and nitrites into a form that makes them harmless to fish but leaves them bioavailable to the bacteria to use as an energy source. If you've been reading up on the Nitrogen cycle, you know that what your tank needs to do is grow bacteria that will break down that ammonia and nitrite to nitrates. Nitrate levels are controlled with regular water changes. Typically, cycling with fish in the tank takes 6-8 weeks. Without fish it can be done much faster. Unfortunately, neons don't do well in an uncycled, cycling tank and I'd be surprised if any of them survive the process. Guppys usually seem to tolerate it better but no fish remain unstressed by the changes that occur during the cycling process.
 
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RHONDA PIMENTEL

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Having .25 ammonia. You shouldn't being adding fish at all. And especially at the rate you currently are. I understand it's hard to not want to disappoint a child on his bday. I think it would be more beneficial if you started the project slowly together and learning is the greatest gift and then reward of success. Sorry for being blunt. But these are living creatures. Not toys. Just imo. Sorry, not trying to offend, just inform.
 

tjander

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Neons are great at indication That they do not like the water. They go to the top of the tank. I feel that PH at 8 is high for Neons but if you accumulate them very slowly they should be fine.

Why is your PH that high? Is this water out of the tap? I don’t advocate trying to adjust your Ph down if it’s that high out of the tap then that is what it is. If you experience problems with a high ph then change to a fish that links a higher Ph. Good luck.
 

Guppymom

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I agree completely your tank isn't ready for fish and I am sorry your friend didn't help you more and told you to start this tank much sooner. Never rely on store employees for info unless it is a mom/pop store that the owners have raised fish for many years most "employees" haven't a clue about the stock. I have grands and great grands so I understand kids want everything and want them now. At 6 they are also old enough to understand you are still "building the fish house" and will want to help there. No way around the fact that if fish were in the future plans you should have started earlier with them. Sorry, but true. As you went ahead and bought the fish already, I suggest asking your friend who gave you some bacteria etc just not soon enough, if you can take the fish to his quarantine tank while yours cycles and let your child "visit" his fish? Also, sharks are not for most community tanks or only with larger fish as they can be aggressive also in research info. I agree with the advice to spend quality time with your child researching what is needed for the fish and it will benefit everyone and your child will get some study tips for later in school. Another thing I do is keep a small tank running in the corner of the room for a hospital tank in emergencies and a quarantine tank this is just an idea you might consider after getting your display tank up and running.
 

RHONDA PIMENTEL

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I agree completely your tank isn't ready for fish and I am sorry your friend didn't help you more and told you to start this tank much sooner. Never rely on store employees for info unless it is a mom/pop store that the owners have raised fish for many years most "employees" haven't a clue about the stock. I have grands and great grands so I understand kids want everything and want them now. At 6 they are also old enough to understand you are still "building the fish house" and will want to help there. No way around the fact that if fish were in the future plans you should have started earlier with them. Sorry, but true. As you went ahead and bought the fish already, I suggest asking your friend who gave you some bacteria etc just not soon enough, if you can take the fish to his quarantine tank while yours cycles and let your child "visit" his fish? Also, sharks are not for most community tanks or only with larger fish as they can be aggressive also in research info. I agree with the advice to spend quality time with your child researching what is needed for the fish and it will benefit everyone and your child will get some study tips for later in school. Another thing I do is keep a small tank running in the corner of the room for a hospital tank in emergencies and a quarantine tank this is just an idea you might consider after getting your display tank up and running.
You said it better than me. Ty
 

Leilio

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and a piece of sponge like material from his pond filter that I've added to mine.
Since you brought a piece of cycled sponge from your friend's pond, you will have some beneficial bacteria in there that is if the sponge was kept moist to allow the beneficial bacteria to live. If your tank is still cycling, it probably means 1) the beneficial bacteria is still trying to catch up with your bioload, then feed less to the fish to give the BB in your filter a chance to catch up. 2) your bioload in the tank is too low compared to the pond, and the beneficial bacteria colony had crashed, then it is just a matter of reestablishing the nitrogen cycle, probably using the fish-in-cycle method. If that is the case, try to change the water more frequently and use API test to make sure the ammonia is converting to nitrate in a timely fashion. I think the most reasonable explanation might be two, then you just need to do fish in cycle.
 

Mac88

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The neons are hanging out at the bottom mostly in a group with a couple straying off and exploring time to time. I have been feeding them once every 2 day for now to try to keep the bioload down. I did add a gallon of water right after adding them with API ammonia neutralizer used as a conditioner. My tap water pH is around 8.2. I also have the API tap water conditioner but the ammonia neutralizer says it gets rid of chlorine and chloramines too so I didn't use it. I definitely will be switching to seachem prime because of all the good reviews but for right now I will continue using the API products I've already purchased. The couple stem plants I purchased from the store are too big for my 10 gallon so I'll be moving them to the 60 gallon hopefully today I'm trying to clean it up good because it's a second hand tank. Hopefully this doesn't bother the neons much but I eventually plan to move them to the larger tank and add more when it's ready.
 

Dechi

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Neon tetras are among the most sensitive fish and even with perfect conditions, they are very fragile. It’s common to have a good percentage of them die when you introduce them to a cycled tank.

Choose another specie, but only when you are cycled.
 

Islandvic

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It sounds like you're on the right track for setting up a healthy 60g.

It can be overwhelming with the information overload. Ha, that's one of the great things about the forum. Within a day of posting a question, you'll get a dozen members, or more, offering advice, giving suggestions and sharing their experiences on the subject !

The API products you have are perfectly fine. Your plan of using them until finished, then getting the Prime will work.

Although Prime is very concentrated, I would suggest getting the 500mL bottle. The larger the bottle, the cheaper per volume it becomes. At the recommended dose per Seachem, it treats:

0.1mL per 1 gallon
1.0mL per 10 gallons
5.0mL per 50 gallons

Although a bottle of Prime costs more than other brands of conditioners and dechlorinators, its actually cheaper per dose because of its higher concentration.

It can also be safely used up to 5x the normal dose to manage spikes in ammonia and nitrates.

I use plastic syringes to accurately dose the Prime. Pharmacies will either give them to you, or charge about $0.25 for them. It's the kind used to dose liquid oral medications.

Having a few is handy, 1mL and a 3mL or 5mL is good to have. You can use the threads in the cap to measure out each mL as well, but thr syringe method is more accurate and eliminates waste.

You mentioned the 60g was aquired second hand and you're gonna give it a cleaning. I suggest looking into getting a box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers or the generic brand HDX from Home Depot. I use them to wipe off the hard water deposits on our tanks, lids and filters. No chemicals. Just the eraser and water. I even use it to clean the water line inside the tank, while the tank is full of water and fish. I saw other members mentioning they use the Magic Erasers, so I tried them and they work great.
 

Tim14

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As for the ph, my school of about 20 neons has been thriving in my 29 gallon for a couple years now with water coming out of the tap at 8.3
Getting your fishy friends to acclimate to whatever comes out of your tap and then keeping it there should eliminate any worries about ph as long as your doing regular water changes and whatnot.
With that being said, CYCLE a tank before adding any fishy friends. I wouldn’t let my guys suffer with .25 ammonia, they’re just swimming in urine in my eyes at that point.
 

Elkwatcher

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Having .25 ammonia. You shouldn't being adding fish at all. And especially at the rate you currently are. I understand it's hard to not want to disappoint a child on his bday. I think it would be more beneficial if you started the project slowly together and learning is the greatest gift and then reward of success. Sorry for being blunt. But these are living creatures. Not toys. Just imo. Sorry, not trying to offend, just inform.
Spoken from the heart and there is a wonderful lesson here as well to teach children... patience. Go slow and you won't be disappointing anyone, but more likely will have success!
 
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